Back to School Time…Is Your Teen Dating?
Your teen age daughter walks in the door with tears in her eyes. You look at her and instantly know she was dumped by her boyfriend of seven weeks. You got such joy over their shared facebook posts about being in love. You gloated over how she lit up when he would send her a text message and you enjoyed chatting with your sister about how cute their love life was. But this was different, she was not smiling and tears were streaming down her face. Mother’s typically feel every emotion their child has and this seems to be a big one.
What do you do? What is the best way to react in such a situation?
I understand that many of you feel the need to coddle your child and wipe their tears. You will struggle to remember and share every detail of your first heartbreak in an effort to show her you can relate. You continually check in with her to be sure she is handling the situation and is aware that you are there for her. But this not the best route to take!
If you really want to help your daughter get through her first heartache let’s start with prevention. Never brag about your child dating anyone. Never put so much emphasis on your child’s early crushes. You as a parent are setting the tone for how your child will handle a break up. You send them messages every day on how valuable relationships really are. If you are a single parent why would you ever let your child ride the dating rollercoaster with you? This is just simply demonstrating that it is acceptable and normal to completely crash at the end of every relationship. Teach your child to value everything else! Friendships, sports, school plays and hobbies are for more valuable and interesting than some puppy love.
Following these steps will make it less likely that your child will fall apart after their first love fails. But if it is too late just relax and know that they will be fine. You see our children read our cues and mirror our behavior. If you maintain control of your emotions and assure them that they will be fine the drama will cease. But if they hear you on the phone venting to your sister about how your child’s heart was broken you will create more drama.
Likely our children will experience heartbreak many times. Just trust that they will learn and grow from every experience. Feeling the emotion is unavoidable but reacting in a reasonable way that will help them grow is a choice. And although this advice is designed for helping your teenagers I bet there are many parents that can walk away with a lesson learned.